When Dorothy Gaffney says she waited a lifetime to see the Cubs World Series trophy, she means it.
The 90-year-old Dubuque resident, leaning on a walker, inched her eyes up to the trophy before posing for a photo.
“It’s the event of the century,” she said. “It’s so beautiful that I wanted to keep looking at it ... to be that close to the trophy and not just see it on TV.”
About 1,000 Quad-Citians lined up at the River Music Experience, or RME, in Davenport on Monday, some camping outside overnight, for their own “once in a lifetime” visits with the trophy, which is making tour stops across the country through March.
The first “die-hard fans” to show included Mark Pritchard and Andrew Jacobs, who stayed in a Cubs-adorned pop-up tent from around 9 p.m. Sunday until the doors opened at 10 a.m. Monday ahead of the display from noon to 1:30 p.m.
"We wanted to be first; we wanted to beat everybody else," Pritchard, 31, said. "You knew there was gonna be a huge turnout."
And for him, seeing the trophy, a “life-fulfilling feat,” was worth the wait.
“It’s almost like watching them win,” he said. “It makes me want to cry.”
Not far behind them were Chicago residents William Bernal, his wife, Angela, and their 8-year-old daughter, Vanessa. They missed the trophy's stops near their home, so they made the drive to Davenport on Sunday night.
"We all skipped work and she skipped school so we could do this together," William Bernal said. "The wait was freezing and hectic, but an experience that doesn’t just come around.”
While the crowd remained wrapped around the block on 2nd Street in downtown Davenport, Dana Jo Smith of Buffalo and her 6-month-old goat named Cubby, kept some fans entertained.
“I’ve never seen so many smartphones in my life — there’s so many people, and it’s fantastic,” Smith said, in between saying “yes” to anyone who asked for a photo with Cubby. “Everyone knows he’s what broke the curse, so I had to bring him.”
The first 500 people to arrive, as well as a VIP list, were guaranteed a quick photo, limited to about five to 10 seconds, with the encased trophy.
It’s what Carolyn Lund, 84, called a “piece of history.”
Over the weekend, Lund, who said she wouldn’t be able to stand in line, gave up hope of seeing the trophy. That changed when her daughter-in-law, Lorri, won a VIP pass.
“She surprised me with it last night, and my heart about stopped,” said Lund, who already is planning to use the trophy photo as her Christmas card. “Seeing them win was on my bucket list; this is the frosting on the cake.”
Deb Powers, the RME's CEO, said the Cubs staff toured the venue a few weeks before setting the tour dates.
"It's a great way to put the RME and Davenport on the map," Powers said. "It's amazing all the people that lined up and continue to pour in."
So far, the tour has seen "amazing numbers" and record crowds, according to Julian Green, the Cubs’ vice president of the communications and community affairs.
"We wanted to share this with as many people across the country as possible," Green said. "It reconfirms that the Cubs has one of the most loyal fan bases across the country and the world — it's much bigger than just Chicago."
About 20 people were turned away, Powers said, as Cubs staff hurried to get the trophy onto the next stop, scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday in Iowa City. This week, the trophy is slated to be on displayed at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids and 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex in Waterloo. For the full list of dates, visit Cubs.com/trophytour.
It was good timing for Mike Johnson, a fan of 35 years who was one of the last people to grab a photo.
“We did it last second,” he said. “When I got here, I didn’t think we’d have a shot because of all of the people. But we made it.”
And for many fans, such as Javier Nevarez and his 15-year-old son, Calin, they hope this World Series win and trophy sighting isn’t the last in their lifetime.
"Watching (the World Series) together was an emotional roller coaster, so we had to do this together," Javier Nevarez said. “All these Cubs fans … we’re family and bonded. Now, let’s do it again next year.”